Fired up to build a new website? Here are some important items to keep in mind before you jump into development. Gone are the days of enlisting a Web developer to update every single item for you. With a modern CMS (content management system), usability and ease of updating are better than ever. WordPress is a great example of a customizable CMS, and not just for blogs anymore. Not only does a developer have the flexibility to direct the design, but any regular Joe is also capable of updating content through the WordPress interface.
Now more than ever, websites are being accessed from mobile and tablet devices. Given that shift, it is essential that your website design be responsive and easily viewed/accessed not just from computers. As seen recently with Black Friday shopping, actual in-store purchases were down significantly and online purchases increased drastically. These days people want the ability to access content at any time from anywhere. To stay relevant, you need to be proactive and make sure your site works while on mobile phones and tablets.
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Where to start to ensure that your site is user-friendly and easily accessed from numerous sources? User experience should always be your first step. Thinking through the navigation and page flow prior to design will save headaches, time and lots of money later on. Well-planned navigation is likely to keep users on your site longer, meaning they are more likely to see your content, find it helpful and engage with your site. Putting together wireframes at the start of the project is imperative and will allow for new content and pages down the road to be added seamlessly.
The other critical website component people often overlook is ease of maintenance. How simple/difficult it is to update copy, images and videos is not always taken into consideration when building and designing a new website. To keep users coming back to your site, it’s important to update content frequently, which will boost your credibility.
Bottom line: Take the time up front to think through your site structure and make sure your design is mobile- and tablet-friendly, and you’ll enjoy a successful site for years to come.